A newly constructed metal gate was recently erected behind the Legends Club at the National Hills shopping center intended to close off traffic from Northwood Road during Masters Week.
Although some drivers use the rear parking lot access throughout the year, it become particularly congested during the week of the Masters Tournament because it provides another way to reach the focal point of Berckmans and Washington roads.
A sign posted by the gate reads “Access Closed” from April 1 to 8.
The gate was closed Monday, but by Tuesday morning it had been ordered open by a Richmond County Superior Court judge.
Attorney David Hudson said his clients, a group of Atlanta investors who purchased the shopping center property last year, wanted the access to Northwood Road closed for safety concerns.
Donnie Thompson, the owner of nearby Windsor Jewelers, retained an easement when he sold the shopping center property in 2004, court records show.
Thompson contended that the gate violated his easement agreement and asked for an immediate restraining order to open the gates.
“We contended the 2004 easement has nothing to do with the back gate,” Hudson said.
The two sides presented their claims at a 10 a.m. hearing Tuesday, and Judge J. David Roper ruled in favor of Thompson, court documents state.
A temporary restraining order was issued, and “the gates were open by 11 a.m.,” Hudson said.
Hudson said his client’s primary concern was safety, pointing out that a pedestrian was struck near the gate by a hospitality van on Wednesday.
Sheriff’s Capt. Scott Gay confirmed there had been a pedestrian hit at the shopping center but had few details.
“I understand it wasn’t serious,” he said.
Calls to Thompson and his attorney Ken Nimmons were not returned Wednesday.
Hudson said the gates will remain open through this week, but this issue may not be settled.
“That’s what appellate courts are for,” Hudson said. “But that won’t help us this week.”